Monday, June 29, 2015


This past three days I’ve unplugged from my computer. In fact, this is the first day I’ve been back on the computer since Friday. I was surprised with my sense of reluctance to even turn on the computer today. I don’t even want to know how many emails I have. I’ll look later.
We used the time to go a few places we’ve wanted to explore. Nothing spectacular. We chose to follow our curiosity with a few day trips. It was a beautiful weekend for driving. When we drive someplace together we also do a lot of talking and that might start out with family happenings, work, and then branches out into all sorts of interesting topics. My husband is well read and has many interests, as do I, and he’s a good conversationalist. I love those times when we can talk about all sorts of things. Saturday and Sunday, we spent the morning out and about and the afternoons and evening watching movies I haven’t had the time to see. I finally got to see the second Captain America movie, which I loved. A lot of action and suspense and it was good to see Robert Redford back in the movies and in a good role. 

This morning has been filled with ticking off a couple of projects that need to be done here at the McKye household. Later this afternoon is cleared for baking. I’m making bread and saving enough extra dough (to be stored in the fridge) for cinnamon caramel pull-apart bread for later in the week. Yummy stuff!

I know I need to unplug from the computer more often and plan on doing so more this summer. I’ll be around, but not as much. We have lots of things we want to do, both projects here at home and places to see. I need to take some time off from the ball and chain that is my computer and concentrate on some of the simple pleasures in life. Taking time to savor the small adventures and break away from the fog of ennui. You know living and experiencing life rather than intellectualizing it via computer. 

I’ll see you again for IWSG on Wednesday. 

I hope you take some time, as I will be, to smell the roses and explore and appreciate your corner of the world. Have a great week!   

Monday, June 22, 2015


I thought I’d start the morning out with something Celtic and energetic—not sure about you guys, but I need it. Plus, I love Slainte and really like Heath’s fiddle playing and his bagpipes. These guys are having a great time playing and that’s always a joy to hear.

This past weekend I actually only worked a half day on Saturday and off on Sunday. It’s been a good long while since I had almost a whole weekend off. I was planning to go see Jurassic World but Dan decided he’d rather see it next weekend. Quality time off, what do I do? Write? Well I do have some clamoring characters but I told them they’d just have to wait (although I did spend some time writing in my notebook while sitting outside).  When you spend as much time in front of a computer as I do, the last thing you want to do is sit in front of one and so writing was out. I couldn’t face my office or my computer another minute.
I exercised my creative spirit in other ways. I worked in my garden, admired my tomatoes, planted some more blueberries, counted my healthy strawberries—about half are doing fine and I’m looking forward to eating lots of them soon. I also worried about my eight new fruit trees—they’re not responding from bare root. I’m giving them another week and then if they still aren’t responding, me and the nursery staff is going to have words.
My creative spirit also wanted to play baker. I haven’t done a lot of baking with yeast in several years. I used to make my bread and rolls. Between having had MRSA and then the shoulder reconstruction, I got out of the habit of that kind of baking.  For one, it takes quite a bit of time and physical effort. I had a hankering for yeasty cinnamon rolls. The recipe I have used for years produces some yummy cinnamon rolls and I used to know it by heart. I had to dig it out so I could proceed. Sheesh.

The first batch…well…let’s just say they weren’t great. Personally, I think they’d have made great hockey pucks although the horses thought they were great. Second batch were good but still not great. Part of it was adjusting for my new stove (relatively new—2 years old so the proofing of the dough was different as was this oven’s temps). The other part of the problem is when working yeast dough it takes practice. I don’t use a bread machine and then there is remembering temperatures for liquids so you don’t kill the yeast or being too rough with the dough so it becomes tough. Use the skill or lose it. It all comes back, well most of it, especially the second time around. Third batch will be a charm—just as soon as I buy more yeast.

  • So, how was your weekend? See any good movies? Read any good books?

  • Did you let your creative spirit out to play? How did that work out for you?

Monday, June 15, 2015


Every time we define a character and set it on a page, we delve into our emotional banks.  When we withdraw emotions and life experiences from that bank and that never leaves us unaffected.  A good example of that is if we’ve just written a heavy emotional scene, we’re wiped. 

Anything we create as an artist, musician, or writer is pulled from our emotional banks.

An artist pulls the emotions from their own psyche and as they do they bring into play their sense of wonder about life, curiosity about how and why things work. This is why a good piece of music, object of art, and words can elicit a strong emotional response. To create that response in others an artist first has to reach inside. And to do that effectively, the creator is also brushed with those same emotions as they create.

Writing/journaling has been used as a tool for years to help client/patients to identify problems.  The thought being, when you write about a situation or event your emotions will spill over into what you’re writing and help see a problem more clearly. Or at least have a starting point to repair or modify what’s troubling you.

Many traumatic things are totally or partially forgotten and this is the mind’s defense mechanism. It protects. Even when forgotten the emotional impact hasn’t been removed, only hidden. Emotions are stored differently than memories and have a way of manifesting themselves, or spilling over, into our dreams and other areas of life. By writing down those emotions, we can, theoretically, recall missing parts and go about fixing it. 

I think when we write a story we also pull from a pool of forgotten emotions and half forgotten situations. All those emotional feelings—the joys, sadness, anger, fear, feeling helpless, and falling in love—are stored within our sub-conscious, or our emotional banks.

In my writing, I tend to hit both ends of the emotional spectrum. I like my characters to have layers. What has happened to them in their past is going to affect how they react now to life’s present situations. Of course parts of my own life experiences are used. I’m an introspective person by nature, and an observer. I have to take care in my writing not to overburden my readers with too much introspection/retrospection.  I have to allow them to draw their own conclusions based on their life experiences.  Sometimes I write it all out, then go back and remove all the whys (back-story and explanations) and dribble out just enough to give the reader a point of reference. I try to leave the actions and reactions of the characters to define the situation.

I don’t always succeed, and I’m always struggling with that, but it’s a work in progress. I feel great when I’ve drawn good characters true to life and they move from two dimensional idea to feeling like a real person.

What helps you create realistic emotions in your characters? 

Monday, June 8, 2015


When my spirit is troubled, sad, or feeling stressed, I tend to walk. There’s something about being out among the trees and pastures that soothes me. Everything is so lush and green. Part of that is because we’ve had a cool spring and a lot of rain and part of it is because June is a beautiful month; it’s that moment’s pause between spring and summer.

My walking path meanders all over our property, looping back and forth leading me through trees and shrubs and across the pastures. There are many little hidden glens filled with wildflowers. As I wander and pause, hidden in the trees, I see all sorts of critters.

I’ve caught sight of foxes and their kits, the quiet glide of a coyote with her pups and watched them play like the puppies they are. We have two ponds on the property. I usually stop at the one about a quarter of a mile down behind the house. There are a lot of interesting sights to see if one is quiet and still. Lot of wildlife. At one end of the pond a pair of wood ducks have made a home and raise their babies. There’s a big abandoned tractor tire that we leave down there for them to hide in or around. I have yet to be able to get a picture of them. Always I see the ducklings swimming near the tire when I don’t have my camera.

The pond is a nursery area for deer, turkeys, quail, and I’ve seen woodchucks and armadillos—which are quite comical to watch. They’re also very playful and it lifts even the lowest spirits. There is a small herd of deer that graze on the other side of the pond and let their fawns run and play. They bring a smile to my face as they play tag and dash about. Usually this group raises several sets of twins. They’re fun to watch. The deer bed down not far from the pond at night. I’m assured of seeing them in the late afternoon.

Being outside on the property strokes all my senses. I breathe in the rich smell of growing things, the scent of the forest, a hint of wildflowers and wild roses tickle my nose. Birdsong fills the air, the hum of bees, the greeting from my horses, and company of my pride of ‘walking’ cats. We have many butterflies feasting on the wildflowers, the comedic antics of the hummingbirds fussing and chasing each other. They make me laugh, silly things. This afternoon there was an added addition of a turkey hen and her brood of about 9 chicks, I say about, because they tend to move rather quickly so it’s hard to count them accurately.

That pause between spring and summer is a great time to walk. It's where I find my peace and I smile.